Have you ever fallen in love with some of the old buildings in your city with architecture dating back one or even two centuries ago? Perhaps you’ve even participated in a community group to preserve an old building from demolition. If either of these apply, there is good news: a few years ago, the National Park Service teamed up with the American Institute of Architects and the Library of Congress to do just that, by making architectural surveys of historic buildings. It’s called HABS, and here are some reasons it is a wonderful program.
For the Historical record
Architecture can reflect the period of time and society within which it is built. This can be true no matter what types of buildings are in question, and especially with archaeological sites. We can learn much by having precise plans of such places drawn, so they can be studied in detail by archaeologists and written into the history of our nation.
To Reuse or Repurpose
Sometimes houses or old commercial constructions outlive their intended use. In these cases, it can be beneficial to make a survey of them so that they can be effectively repurposed for new uses instead of being torn down. In these cases, habs documentation drawings are made by licensed architects so that every detail of the structure is taken into account before any changes are made.
To Preserve for Future Generations
As our modern culture marches forward, its relentless pace can endanger the remnants of our historic past. In order for the following generations to learn from our history, we must preserve as much as we can. If the buildings and homes of our past can’t be saved themselves, then at least we can keep their architectural drawings, so that our descendents can appreciate them.
Hopefully you’re now more familiar with the HABS program and why it serves to preserve our cherished past architecture. Perhaps you too can be involved, thus doing your share to keep the nation’s history alive.